USHERING IN A NEW ERA OF COLLABORATION
John Chambers, Cisco Chairman and CEOWe are on the cusp of a new era where the Internet is transforming businesses large and small, and creating an entirely new environment for today’s workforce to communicate, collaborate and achieve. We have an opportunity to usher in a new era of economic growth and productivity and Internet-driven collaboration technologies are at the core of this transformation. Changing the very nature of work, these technologies are driving the rapid evolution of the workspace, where the desktop is complemented, and in some cases replaced, by smart phones and devices driven by a network-based platform.As the value of information technology moves from the edge of the network into the core we will see a corresponding transition from transactional communications like phone calls and email to continuous collaborative experiences, similar to today’s social networking. Not only do we now expect to be able to connect to everyone from everywhere through every device-we expect it to be seamless, secure and simple. The intelligent network is what is making this possible.Collaboration is the future. It is about what we can do together. And collaboration within and between firms worldwide is accelerating. It is enabled by technology and a change in behavior. Global, cross-functional teams create a virtual boundary-free workspace, collaborating across time zones to capture new opportunities created with customers and suppliers around the world. Investments in unified communications help people work together more efficiently. In particular, collaborative, information search and communications technologies fuel productivity by giving employees ready access to relevant information. Companies are flatter and more decentralized.At the heart of these changes is the simple premise of connections and information. Cisco’s heritage has always been about connecting people—over the past 10 years, Unified Communications and Collaboration technologies are a natural extension of this heritage. Through these innovations, Cisco has led the way in developing next transformative applications of technology. A key example is video, a critical piece of any unified communications strategy. Cisco TelePresence unifies video with audio and information to create unique, in-person experiences between people, places, and events-all across the intelligent network. TelePresence is already transforming the way remote meetings take place. Consider this: one year ago I made 2 trips around the world to visit customers and it took me two weeks. Just recently, I visited the same number of customers, in the same number of international locations, in less than 8 hours, without leaving my office. The implications of this on the environment, a company’s competitive advantage and our quality of life, is tremendous.Once upon a time, e-commerce and e-operations drove the Internet debate, but now it’s clear we have entered the second phase of the Internet. Although collaborative technologies and ‘Web 2.0’ have been around for many years, employing them through entire organizations will be made possible only by the intelligent network. At Cisco, we will drive this evolution with a vengeance. And we are going to help our customers do the same.